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Sarah Chacko


Sarah Chacko started as a legislative action reporter for CQ Roll Call in November 2012. Prior to that, she covered government contract and grant spending for the Federal Times and the Louisiana state legislature for The Advocate in Baton Rouge. Sarah also worked in Texas as an education reporter for the Denton Record-Chronicle and city hall reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald. Sarah is a 2004 graduate of Texas Christian University and a 2011 graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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Stories by Sarah Chacko:

There’s Something for Everyone in Neatly Wrapped Education Bill

Nov. 30, 2015

Christmas could come early for educators and their advocates, with lawmakers hopeful an agreement to fix the No Child Left Behind law could clear Congress by mid-December.

Preschool Suspensions Alarm Appropriators

Aug. 19, 2015

Mental health consultant Wendy Jones is trying to explain how a 3-year-old child gets expelled from a preschool school class, and it’s taking a long time.

Path Forward on Lynch Nomination Tied to Abortion Language

April 15, 2015

Senators negotiated Wednesday over how to end a legislative standoff that has stalled votes on an otherwise noncontroversial anti-human trafficking bill as well as the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general.

Portman: Tom Cotton Letter Should Yield Better Iran Deal

March 12, 2015

The controversial letter signed by 47 Republicans to Iran’s leaders authored by Sen. Tom Cotton should yield a better agreement if used properly by the Obama administration, Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday.

House Averts Shutdown of DHS for 1 Week

Feb. 27, 2015

Lawmakers managed Friday to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security by clearing a one-week stopgap funding measure.

The move forestalls a funding lapse DHS, whose budget authority was set to expire at midnight.

With House Republicans in full disarray after failing to pass a three-week stopgap, the Senate moved a more modest one-week measure, bailing out House leaders who were unable to deliver the votes needed to advance their plan.

The House emphatically passed the stopgap, which would extend the DHS' budget authority through March 6, 357-60, just before 10 p.m., on Friday evening sending the patch to the president's desk.

Senator on DHS Fight: 'We Need to Get Off Our Press Releases'

Feb. 27, 2015

In a fiery speech Friday morning, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski slammed House Republicans' latest proposal to fund the Department of Homeland Security with a three-week stopgap measure, saying lawmakers need “to get off [their] press releases.”

“I say to my friends in the House, to delay this three more weeks is reckless, and it is dangerous,” the Maryland Democrat said. “What are we going to know? We’re waiting for the courts to decide? Who knows when the courts will decide?”

Jim Inhofe Throws a Snowball (Video)

Feb. 26, 2015

Sometimes you just can’t resist the urge to start a snowball fight.

Durbin: 'Lives Are in the Balance' in ISIS War Authorization

Feb. 10, 2015

“Lives are in the balance,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin told reporters Tuesday on the importance of getting the balance right in a proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group.

Senate Democrats' Unity Strategy Will Face Tough Tests

Feb. 5, 2015

The opening gambit by Senate Democrats on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security gives a strong signal about how the party intends to handle its position as the minority on the Senate floor.

Democrats Rebuff DHS Bill Over Immigration Provisions

Feb. 3, 2015

Democrats banded together Tuesday to block the Senate from considering a Homeland Security spending bill, leaving GOP leaders scrambling to find another path forward to challenge the president over immigration.

Keystone Confrontation With White House Looms After Senate Passage

Jan. 29, 2015

A veto showdown moved closer on Thursday after the Senate passed legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and yank the decision out of President Barack Obama’s hands.

Senate Democrats Filibuster Keystone Bill

Jan. 26, 2015

With a handful of senators out and Democrats calling for more amendments, GOP leaders were unable to limit debate on a measure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline Monday.

Pipeline Expected to Generate Jobs and Revenue

Jan. 23, 2015

The Keystone XL pipeline is expected to deliver jobs and tax revenue as it crosses from Canada to the northern border of Kansas, cutting through parts of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska on the way.

GOP Heads to Joint Retreat With Coordination, Realism on Agenda

Jan. 14, 2015

With hopes high for the new era of GOP majority control, House and Senate Republicans are headed off the Hill to plot a course for the party’s stymied legislative agenda.

Senator on ISIS War: Congress 'Giving Away' Constitutional Authority to the President

Dec. 3, 2014

As the House finalizes funding for anti-Islamic State operations, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Angus King, I-Maine, hammered the administration on the Senate floor Wednesday for failing to seek a new war authorization, while calling on Congress to debate an authorization before recessing for the holidays.

Kaine, who has previously criticized President Barack Obama's unilateral action against the group also known as ISIS or ISIL, said failing to debate a measure would be "disrespectful of the troops," while King said it would be "one more giving away — of our constitutional authority to the executive."

"Giving this president — giving any president — a green light to wage unilateral war for five or six months without any meaningful debate or authorization would be deeply destructive of the legitimacy of the legislative branch of our government, it would be deeply disrespectful of our citizens and it would be especially disrespectful of the troops," Kaine said.

Goodlatte's Principles for Online Sales Tax Collection

Nov. 19, 2014

A key figure in the congressional debate over online sales tax collections is Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, the veteran Virginia Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte has said he plans to draft sales tax legislation based on seven basic principles, which he lists on his committee’s website.

Online Sales Tax Measure May Snag in House

Nov. 19, 2014

Though the Senate appears ready to pass a second bill allowing states to require online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by their residents, House leaders seem intent on keeping the issue out of an end-of-Congress rush for action.

Landrieu Calls for Vote on Keystone Pipeline

Nov. 12, 2014

Embattled Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu announced her support for an immediate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline on the floor Wednesday, as House Republicans moved forward with an identical measure to help Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is in a runoff with Landrieu.

"This has been a project that has lingered far too long," Landrieu said. "I believe it is time to act.”

A Senate Race Where Democrats Neutralized Obamacare Attacks

Oct. 16, 2014

The Republican critique of the president’s health care overhaul law may have hit a wall in Minnesota, complicating the GOP’s already long chances of picking up a Senate seat in the state.

Senate Republican: US Immigration System 'Unlawful,' Lacks 'Integrity'

Aug. 5, 2014

Prior to effectively adjourning for five weeks, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., used Tuesday's Senate session to hammer President Barack Obama for proposing changes to immigration laws at the end of the summer without consent from Congress.

The administration is reportedly considering an executive order to provide legal status and work authorization cards to 5 million to 6 million of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, which Sessions called 'unlawful.'

"I've urged the president to reconsider this plan and to adhere to his plain statements where he has expressely stated he did not have the power to do what he now, in a complete reversal, states that he will do," Sessions said during a nearly 30-minute floor speech. "It is important for the Congress to stand up and resist the complete errosion of its powers. If these actions are taken, we will have effectively opened the borders of America. We are nearly there already."

Following a pro forma session Friday, the Senate will reconvene for legislative business at 2 p.m. on Sept. 8.

McConnell: Obama 'Scuttling Reform and Prolonging' Border Crisis

July 31, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday it was “exasperating” working with the White House on a solution to the child migrant crisis at the Southern border, blasting President Barack Obama over a recent West Coast fundraising trip.

“Scuttling reform and prolonging a crisis are not part of his job description,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. “Press pause on the non-stop photo ops and start demonstrating some real leadership instead.”

McConnell’s comments came ahead of a planned motion Thursday afternoon to proceed to a border supplemental bill, even as the House and Senate continue to disagree on a top-line spending amount to address the crisis.

Birth Control Legislation Stalls in Senate

July 16, 2014

Senators blocked legislation Wednesday that would have required Hobby Lobby and other private employers with religious interests to pay for birth control.

Paul, Wyden Clash Over Barron Nomination, Use of Drones Abroad

May 21, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul contested the nomination of David J. Barron to be a First Circuit appeals court judge as well as the Obama administration's use of drones for targeted killings of Americans during a 31-minute floor speech Wednesday.

The Kentucky Republican faced an objection to a unanimous consent request to delay Barron's confirmation, and following Paul's morning remarks Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., took the floor in support of Barron while criticizing the Obama administration for its resistance to providing Congress with memos outlining its legal basis for carrying out acts of war.

"It's unfortunate that it took Mr. Barron's nomination for the Justice Department to make these memos public," Wyden said. "I believe that every American has the right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them."

The Senate later voted to limit debate on Barron's nomination to a seat on the Boston-based court, 52-43.

Paul Predicts Democrats Will Back Barron, Doesn't Plan Extended Speech (Updated) (Video)

May 21, 2014

Updated 3:15 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul wore comfortable shoes to work today, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to hold the floor for hours.

Brennan Confirmed as CIA Director

March 7, 2013

The Senate confirmed John O. Brennan to be CIA director Thursday after Sen. Rand Paul received the answer he wanted from the Obama administration on the potential use of drones against Americans on U.S. soil.

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